How Pilates Can Redesign Your Physique

How Pilates Can Redesign Your Physique by Sylvia Favela

Pilates only a stretching exercise? Not Exactly!

Not at all, however when I’m asked if Pilates is all about stretching and lying around, I smile as say, “No Way”!

I would agree and see how Pilates can be mistaken as a stretching and breathing exercise and commonly be confused with yoga.

More and more people are incorporating Pilates into their weekly fitness routines, mainly because they have challenges doing boot camps or working out in those big box gyms because they hurt themselves and suffered from injuries, some lifelong injuries that resulted in surgery.

One of the frequent questions I get asked is…”Do I need to get stronger or lose weight before starting the Pilates program”.

My reply is simple, “Not at all”, regardless if you’ve trained hard in the gym and can lunge heavy weight or do cardio for hours it helps but the style of the Pilates exercises will challenge any fitness level.  The strength, endurance and a lean toned physique are achieved with continuous practice of the Pilates system.

My more mature ladies ask if it’s only for the younger ones because they have the stamina.  Sadly this is false, both are false actually.

You don’t need to be in shape or be strong to do Pilates, I’ve witnessed first hand a 6’4 MMA fighter fall to pieces after showing him only 3 of my Pilates moves. You just need to start and it can be at any fitness level.

Take Kim, for example…She is amazing and inspires me everyday! Only 4 months month she was weighing in at 187 pounds on medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol.

She injured both knees trying workouts that only hurt her body instead of helping it.  The injury to her left knee was her biggest obstacle; she had water in the knee and a torn meniscus.  In constant pain and feeling sad with how her body looked she began to pack on the weight.

While working with Kim she always mentioned just how much she hated the rolls that hung over her pants and the arm jiggles.  She would tell me stories of how her kids were poking at the loose skin under her arms.  Especially when she would wave good-bye.  I have to say our kids are the first to poke fun and call out our faults.

We jumped right in and began Kim on her body weight Pilates workouts, she was happily impressed on how the movements kept pressure off her joints. With the combined series of core, upper and lower body movements her body quickly responded to the workouts.

Her jiggly arms and the muffin top were her biggest concerns and we tackled those areas that involved deep core and arm exercises to give her the confidence back.

Kim has stayed consistent with her Pilates workouts.  Her strength and endurance has excelled and she surprised herself with how quickly her body changed! She went from never being able to do a Knee Pull or finishing a 30-minute workout to powering through a double workout and outdoing everyone else in the class with the knee pulls.

She couldn’t wait to tell me about the greatest compliment she ever got from her kids… “Mom your arms don’t jiggle anymore”! It made her day.

Besides the amazing results Kim continues to see and feel every day, she no longer needs any medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol. She has dropped more than 50 pounds and doesn’t feel the pain in her knee or other joints anymore.

When we think about daily activities such as lifting a bag of groceries, bending over to pick something off the floor, or playing with your kids can be a challenge for many.  Especially for those who struggle with an extremely tight lower back with limited range of motion of the hips.

With continued practice there is more body awareness and noticeable difference in posture. Through the body weight movements flexibility and moving the body through full range of motion position calls for a functional muscle to develop body rather than a tight, overworked muscle.

The true benefits of Pilates can be summed up by saying this… deep core focus that results in a tight toned midsection, full body resistance to sculpt and tone the body without unnecessary pressure the joints.  Staying active and agile regardless of what your fitness goal helps to sustain a well-balanced strong body.

Here is a quick Body Weight Pilates workout you can try at home….

Here is an overview of the body weight moves in the above video….

*  Ab Cincher   – 12 reps, 3 sets, 10 sec rest between each set
*  Ab Cincher Single – 12 reps, 3 sets, 10 sec rest between each set
*  Ab Kick Push Up – 12 reps, 3 sets, 10 sec rest between each set

Get more out of your workouts and challenge yourself to lean and tone your physique and head over to… to Body Weight Pilates for more body weight works.

Have fun and enjoy the benefits of Pilates!

Sylvia Favela, aka “queen of Pilates”, author of “Body Weight Pilates”.
For additional tips and resources visit her blog at